Ashley Zeckman

6 Tips For More Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

Does Your Inbox Look Like This?

We’ve all received them and we’ve all sent them. They can be given but they can’t be taken back. It’s a single action that can cause people to unfriend, unfollow, or unsubscribe.  What are they?  Emails!  Emails can inspire, engage, or excite your prospects or customers but can have the opposite effect of what you were aiming for if you don’t follow some simple rules.

Creating an effective email marketing campaign is not always an easy task.  However, there are a few things to keep in mind that may help take some of the fear out of launching your own campaign.  Not every campaign will be successful but if you’re good about analyzing results, admitting shortcomings and making changes, who says you can’t learn from your mistakes?

#1 – Please, Please, Please Don’t Spam!
It’s 8am on Monday and you’re frantically trying to catch up on emails from the weekend.  A subject line catches your eye “Thank You For Meeting Me.”  This must be from someone you know, right? WRONG.  Once you open the email you receive a message on ways you can generate millions of dollars without lifting a finger. All it requires is a “small” investment on your part.  Although this is an extreme example of spamming, it is important that you keep this example in mind when creating your own campaigns.  Be honest about who you are and try to offer something of value.

#2 – Have A Plan (Or Else)
Nothing hurts an email campaign more than inconsistent messaging and lack of direction.  Your sales and marketing message should be aligned and you MUST have a plan for distributing your content.  Email campaigns should always be written for your target audience.  If you are targeting different decision makers in different industries, guess what?  You will have to adapt your approach to meet the needs of your customer segment.your prospect base customer segment.  Email is not always a “one size fits all” solution, but it should still follow a consistent process with end goals in mind.

#3 – Easy On the Eyes –  Fuel For the Brain
Your email is likely 1 of 1,000 sitting unread in your prospect’s email inbox.  If you have written a subject line that is compelling enough to get them to open, it’s important that you keep their attention, or they’ll just delete or move on to the next message.  Make sure that your emails are scanable.  Include bullet points with USEFUL and INTERESTING information.  For example, an email  that is 5 paragraphs long will not only lose the attention of your audience, but will cause readers to hesitate opening the next message from you that comes to their inbox.

#4 –  Don’t Trip Up: Set Next Steps
So, you’ve managed to get in front of your target audience and they’ve read your email.  Now what?  NEVER leave it up to your audience to decide what the next steps are.  Offer some sort of call to action such as a specific and relevant offer, recommending a date and time you can speak further, or a link to some useful information.

#5 – Make Content Sharable
If possible, embed sharable icons to your email communication.  Why?  If your audience does have interest in the message  you’ve shared and would like to distribute that message to their own network it is  important to make it as easy as possible for readers to extend the reach of your email message to social networks at large.  Just think: If even just a fraction of your target audience are sharing your information, how many more users and prospective clients that will put you in front of?

#6 – Whatever You Do, Make Sure to Analyze Your Data
You can learn a lot about your audience from your email analytics.  Whether you are using a CRM tool to send out emails (like Salesforce) or an email marketing platform (like Constant Contact) be sure to watch email campaign performance metrics as closely as you can.  Of the emails sent, how many were actually opened?  Which links were clicked on the most?  How many times was your content shared with the users’ social network? Which offers resulted in the most conversions?

What Should We Always Keep In Mind With Email Marketing?
Email marketing campaigns are comprised of many moving pieces.  By following a few simple best practice rules including plan development, setting next steps, and knowing your analytics you have the recipe for a successful and measurable email marketing campaign.

I’m curious to know what email marketing strategies have worked for your company in the past?  I am also very interested in hearing about some of the challenges that you’ve faced and what you’ve taken away from those experiences.   The only way we get better is if we keep learning, tweaking, and adapting the way that we are executing our email marketing strategy.

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


  1. This is a GREAT article! I send out marketing messages to my clients and you’ve included a lot of factors I’m going to keep in mind. What I’ve always been taught, keep them short and sweet and to the point. I know I’M one of the ones on a Monday morning sorting through 1,000 emails, I’m sure my clients are too!

  2. I am surprised you did not mention anything about an unsubscribe feature. Deliver-ability is probably the most important factor for an email campaign, the customer can’t even see what you have to say if they do not receive the email or it ends up in the junk.

    Through testing and paid research we found the best method is to offer clear unsubscribe links at both the top and the bottom of your email. This dramatically increased our deliver-ability rates. However keep in mind what works for one platform might not work for another. e.g. mail will deliver and render differently on gmail as it does on Yahoo! As any marketer knows, test, test, test.

    Good post, interesting to get away from PPC and SEM for once.

  3. This article is awesome. Great checklist for email marketing.One thing I’ve noticed is that the TIME I send my email is also as important as what I mean. There are certain times of day (and days of week) where I receive a much higher CTR and open rate than on other days. I highly recommend experimenting with this as well.

  4. The tough part is to find a list that is interested in receiving your message.. and this takes time.. so spamming is sometimes inevitably.. Great article ..thanks for posting

  5. Avatar Paul Blakeney says

    In email marketing, a blind shot won’t take you very far. But if you aim properly by following these essential rules of play, you should soon be reaping the same major results as so many online and offline businesses.

  6. Thanks for sharing such post. hope this post will provide a mile stone for blog readers.blogging as jouralism tool open new window in this field 

  7. Avatar Sydney @ Social Dynamics says

    I honestly cringe when I see blatant email spam, they’re so obvious it’s insulting.lols. But, if it was only smartly crafted and had a better structure and delivery, perhaps there would be more brands that can capture their audience with their email campaigns.

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